Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Little Self-Imposed Discipline

There’s not much enforced structure in my life these days. This fact alone relieves a lot of the stress we suffered during our working years. But, for me, a complete lack of structure can lead to unproductive and unsatisfying days that just slip away. I’m not comfortable with just letting these precious days get away from me.

Now I create my own laid-back structure. I think about what I need or want to do during the week and loosely plan what to do and when. Today, I know I need to do some laundry and get to the grocery store. For fun and exercise, we’ll walk to the driving range and swing at a bucket-load of golf balls.

Ron is cool with this loose structure, and is thriving in it. I have found that I need to create some actual deadlines for myself, to introduce a little more discipline and productivity. It’s a rule that the bed must be made every day before I get in the shower. And I have to shower and dress by a certain time of the day. (I’m not going to tell you what time, or you will hate me a little.)

This blog, “Retired Early – The Reality”, is published every Thursday morning. It helps me make sure that I continue to ponder how to define my new life. Somehow, putting my thoughts into words for others to read helps me appreciate everything more. I don’t want to take anything for granted, because I know that the living situation we have today is extraordinary – for us. Enough friends have asked me what we do now and how we got to this point of freedom that I felt it was worth trying to explain it.

Then Haropulos Bailey Consulting started as a little seed of an idea. It seemed like a shame to “waste” all the business experience we have. I’m fortunate to have time to build our offering slowly. I started another (professional) blog, which I publish on Monday mornings, at The blog reflects my business philosophies. It may or may not result in generation of any business, but I know it’s important to establishing an online presence and a brand identity.

Every day, I spend some time networking on Facebook and LinkedIn. The disciplined aspect is the need to contribute something – that’s how you reap pleasure back from Facebook. My participation on LinkedIn resulted in my first paid consulting work. By actively responding to open Questions in my areas of expertise, I have made new Connections that have enhanced my online experience. Again, the more you give, the more you seem to get back in return.

Being retired doesn’t mean being disengaged. A little personal discipline goes a long way in setting you up to be proud of your accomplishments – a feeling we all need for our self-esteem.

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